Maria Sakkari beat Serena Williams at the Western & Southern Open – will Serena get revenge at the US Open?…
Maria Sakkari beat Serena Williams at the Western & Southern Open – will Serena get revenge at the US Open?
Serena Williams vs Maria Sakkari | US Open women's singles R16 | 7/9/2020Williams 2-0 6/5 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Serena vs Sakkari is live from New York on Monday 7 September, time TBC
Serena Williams served for the match against Maria Sakkari in ‘Cincinnati’ two weeks ago and was two points from victory, but the athletic Greek pulled off a tremendous comeback from the brink of defeat, beating the American 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-1.
With Sakkari bursting with self-belief, will Williams be able to close out the match if she gets into a winning position this time, with a place in the quarterfinals of the US Open on the line?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Serena vs Sakkari: Head-to-head
Serena Williams and Maria Sakkari’s match at the Western & Southern Open this August, which Sakkari won 5-7, 7-6(5), 6-1, was their only meeting so far.
Serena vs Sakkari: Preview
Six-time US Open champion Serena Williams won her first two matches at this year’s tournament in straight sets, breaking a six-match streak in which all her matches had gone the distance – a streak which included defeats to Anastasija Sevastova in Fed Cup in February, Shelby Rogers in Lexington and Sakkari in ‘Cincinnati’. But Williams was back to being stretched to three when she faced fellow former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the third round.
The match followed a familiar pattern – a fired-up, aggressive Stephens coming out and using her signature brand of seemingly effortless power to make Williams move and stretch her wide, then hitting a winner into the open court, making Williams look slow and sluggish while the older woman struggled to get what she needed out of her first serve; Williams slowly raising her level and Stephens being unable to sustain hers, and the match doing a U-turn midway through the second set. In this case, the switch happened when Stephens made a poor return on break point; Williams did not look back, serving better and better as Stephens fell away. By the time she closed out the 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 match, ending with 12 aces, 29 winners and 23 unforced errors, Williams was in complete control.
Having a day off to recover and rest is a crucial advantage for Williams, who struggled physically with long matches on back-to-back days in Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’. But when it comes to fitness, it’s difficult not to conclude that Sakkari reigns supreme. The 25-year-old Greek player somehow seems to have got fitter than ever during the six months that WTA Tour tennis was suspended, and if she doesn’t have the big serve or outright explosive point-ending power of Williams, she can run for days – and days.
Sakkari is now 15-8 in 2020 after making the fourth round of a major for the first time at the Australian Open, the semifinals of St Petersburg and the quarterfinals of the Western & Southern Open; at the US Open, she survived three-set battles against Stefanie Voegele and Bernarda Pera before impressing in a 6-3, 6-1 victory over a discombobulated Amanda Anisimova. With a 9-13 record against top-10 players – with the majority of those victories coming either on clay or American hard courts – Sakkari is definitely a threat: She can make Williams hit a lot of balls, which is an effective formulation against the American, and she will certainly back herself to be physically able to compete no matter how long the match is, something Serena couldn’t do in ‘Cincinnati’ where she cramped in the third set.
If Williams comes out serving well, and keeping her unforced errors under control, she should win in straight sets; if she gets taken to a third set, it’s advantage Sakkari. I’m backing Serena, who was furious with herself for letting that ‘Cincinnati’ match slip away, to get the victory.